Personal tragedy fuels D-NH's Trent Johnson to state wrestling c - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Personal tragedy fuels D-NH's Trent Johnson to state wrestling championship

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -

Years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears all led up to one moment for Trent Johnson.

"It was a dream come true," said Johnson, "I didn't know what to do. I just put my arms in the air and just looked at the crowd, tried to soak it all in."

In his final shot the Dike-New Hartford senior captured the 1A wrestling crown at 145 pounds. Johnson, the state's all time leading rusher in football and a 3-time podium finisher on the mat prior to last weekend, hadn't quite made it to the top. He came close last year as the runner-up to 4-time champ Carter Happel of Lisbon. It left him with no shortage of motivation.

"Seeing everyone stand up and clap for Happel as he won with 4th state title. That wasn't enjoyable for Trent," recalled Wolverine head coach Tony Norton.

"I watched that match a lot on Youtube," said Johnson, "To work that hard and then to get so close yet so far, it really makes you work a lot harder."

His biggest source of inspiration, however, was born of tragedy. Trent's younger brother Tate died following an ATV in September of 2012. The wide-eyed, spirited boy was all Trent could think about after his big moment.

“I just do everything for him and I know he's proud of me right now,” said Trent moments after emerging from the mat after his title win.

At the time of the accident, Tate Johnson was a third grader at Dike Elementary where reminders of his life still remain. Trent says his number one fan is still with him every time he steps on the mat.

"He would always follow me around and do exactly what I did because he wanted to be exactly like me. I think about him every day. I talk about him every day. He's always there."

For Trent, also a stand-out in the classroom, making his brother proud stands as his greatest motivation leading him to that one moment where he stood on top.

"I keep smiling just thinking about it. It was a cool moment."

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